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Best Military Watches & Tactical Watches for Men – Buyer’s Guide 2017

Best Military watches and Tactical Watches 2017

Image credit: James/flickr.com (CC-BY 2.0)

Whether you’re part of a security detail, working for law enforcement, on the front lines of the battlefield, outdoorsman, adrenaline junkie, or you just want to look cool when you play Call of Duty, a quality waterproof military watch is a necessity.

Maybe not so much for Call of Duty – but you get the point.

A good military, or tactical watch stands up against any trying conditions the elements can conjure, harsh terrain and environments, everyday abuse associated with uncharted terrain, and if treated correctly, might very well outlive its owner.

Luckily, in today’s world, the market offers a plethora of popular tactical watch brands, carrying varying price tags. Brands such as Casio, Garmin, and Luminox, to name a few, are all popular brands offering good military and tactical watches in the $150 to $500 price range. You can of course spend much more than that.

Features such as water resistance, luminous hands and markers, alarms and time-keeping functions, altimeter and compass or GPS make these rugged timepieces worth their weight in gold.

Okay…okay…enough small talk, so without any further ado, let’s take a look at

The Top Military & Tactical Watches for Men 2017

Men’s Casio G-Shock RANGEMAN Master of G Series

Our Rating: (5 / 5)

Men's Casio G-Shock RANGEMAN Master of G Series Green Military watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Rugged & durable
  • Comfortable
  • LED light
  • Low temp resistant
  • Shock & Mud resistant
  • Altimeter & barometer
  • Digital compass

Cons:

  • Negative display can be hard for some to read

Our Editor’s Pick, the G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400, shouts rugged, durable, and boasts the easily-recognizable, intimidating first appearance commonly found in G-Shock watches.

The Rangeman receives time calibration radio signals which keep you running on highly accurate time on a daily basis. Shock, mud, and water resistant to 200m (656ft), this waterproof military watch is built to withstand the toughest of environments. For situational awareness in the field, an altimeter, barometer, and digital compass keep you safe and aware of your surroundings when you need it most.

Full auto LED and backlight with afterglow provides adequate light in low visibility conditions, and if those aren’t enough features for you, should you ever find yourself plunged into an ice-cold lake, this military style watch is low temperature resistant to -10C (14F). If you’re into negative display watches, rather than high contrast display, that have a rugged feel with confident operation, then this is the watch for you. Available in black and green.

Also watch this video review of the GW-9400:

Best Military Watch Under $100

Casio G-Shock GA 100 Military Series Watch in Black

Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)

G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military Series Watch for Men

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Rugged & durable
  • LED light
  • Analog & digital
  • 29 time zones
  • Preset calendar

Cons:

  • Hard to read digital time during daylight

With its rugged and intimidating first impression, the G-Shock, by Casio, lives up to its expectation with its big case design. Its matte black resin band contributes significantly to its “built-to-last” design, and it comes fully loaded with plenty of the features you need in a military style watch.

Shock resistant, water resistant to 200m (656ft) and rated at 20 ATM, the G-Shock is guaranteed to withstand harsh conditions and outdoor abuse. An LED light, with afterglow, means you can clearly see the analog hands or digital time on this military watch in low visibility, and it supports 29 time zones (48 cities).

A 1/1000 seconds stopwatch, alarm, and countdown timer serve as time-keeping functions, and if the world is still around, the calendar on this watch will take you all the way up to the year 2099. This timepiece is perfect for almost any outdoor activity, from hiking to swimming and skin diving.

Top Military Watches Under $200

Suunto Core All Black Military & Tactical Watch for Men

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Suunto Core All Black Military Watch for Men

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 3-ATM

Pros:

  • Bold easy-to-read display
  • Altimeter & barometer
  • Digital compass
  • Storm alert & weather trend

Cons:

  • Band reported to be flimsy

The first thing that stands out with this Suunto Core military watch is its bold, easy-to-read display. This bold and broad display provides altitude information, through a built-in altimeter, right at your fingertips. Coupled with this is a barometer for tracking air pressure trends and a digital compass guides the way.

The altimeter displays current elevation, with ascent and descent information, with the ability to record sessions. A weather trend graph and storm alarm, along with sunrise and sunset preset times for over 400 locations, keeps you safe wherever you are.

Apart from the “cool” stuff, this waterproof military style watch includes traditional watch functions such as; dual times, date display, and alarm functions. A depth meter also provides accurate water depth readings to 30ft.

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Military Style Watch

Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Military Style Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 10-ATM

Pros:

  • Versatile & rugged
  • Altimeter & barometer
  • Digital compass
  • Low temp resistant
  • Solar-powered

Cons:

  • Display hard to read at extreme angles

This black solar-powered sport watch comes loaded with all the much-needed features commonly found in tactical watches. A digital compass leads the way, an altimeter displays the altitude of your location, a barometer is great for weather trends, and a thermometer keeps track of the ambient temperature.

Low-temperature resistance (-10C/14F) contributes to the rugged design of the Pathfinder, and an EL backlight keeps you covered in times of low visibility. Standard watch functions like daily alarms, world time, stopwatch, countdown timer, and an auto-calendar (pre-programmed until 2099) make this a versatile and well-rounded watch.

This is a great watch for swimming and snorkeling, water resistant to 100m (330ft), we wouldn’t recommend this watch for scuba diving.

Best Military & Tactical Watches Under $500

Casio G-SHOCK Mudmaster (Model: GG-1000-1A5CR)

Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)

Casio G-SHOCK Mudmaster (Model: GG-1000-1A5CR)

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Rugged & versatile
  • Shock & Mud resistant
  • Thermometer
  • Digital Compass
  • LED light

Cons:

  • Analog hands occasionally get in the way of the LCD screens

This military grade watch, by Casio, boasts that rugged yet stylish design often found in G-Shock watches. Shock & mud resistant qualities lend to its durable design, and a thermometer and digital compass significantly contribute to situational awareness – imperative for safety.

The beige, resin strap is not only stylish, but it’s also great for situations where camouflage and blending in become necessary. Typical watch functions such as; daily alarms, hourly time signals, full auto-calendar, and a low battery alert, makes it quite versatile. Water resistant to 200m (660ft), this military style watch is great for professional marine activity and serious water sports, but we wouldn’t recommend it for diving.

Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch

Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Simple effective design
  • Bold numerals & markers
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Date calendar

Cons:

  • Watch strap reportedly flimsy

This is a luminous black watch featuring bold, large, white contrast Arabic numerals and markers. Straightforward in its design, this waterproof military watch fits comfortably with its polyurethane band with embossed logo and buckle enclosure.

Water resistant to 200m (660ft), this military watch is ideal for professional marine activities and water sports, but not for scuba or deep sea diving. The rotating bezel on this watch makes it a very useful countdown instrument – which can prove to be a lifesaver when lost in the hills or ideal when boiling eggs. The best way to describe this watch is: it’s a handsomely rugged watch, simple in design but just as effective as any of the other military watches in our list.

Casio Men’s PRW-6000Y-1ACR Pro Trek Black Analog-Digital Military Watch

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Casio Men’s PRW-6000Y-1ACR Pro Trek Black Analog-Digital Military Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 10-ATM

Pros:

  • Rugged
  • Low temp resistant
  • Altimeter
  • Digital compass
  • Thermometer
  • Analog & digital display

Cons:

  • Negative display can be hard to read at times

The Pro Trek, by Casio, is a solar-powered watch featuring the bells and whistles expected in a military style watch. A Version 3 Triple Sensor contributes greatly in maintaining good situational awareness – with a built-in altimeter/barometer, compass, and thermometer.

Standard watch functions for time keeping, alarms, 12/24 hour formats, and world time make it versatile. Ideal for swimming and snorkeling, water resistant to 100m (330ft), it’s a great watch for basic water activities but nothing more than just that.

Luminox LM8822.MI Recon Point Man Swiss Made Watch

Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)

Luminox LM8822.MI Recon Point Man Swiss Made Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Straight forward design
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Walking speed scale in miles
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Low illumination level reported

Another great tactical watch by Luminox is the Recon Point. This round watch features a unidirectional rotating bezel with compass markings. It has a black dial with silver hands and white Arabic numerals and markers, except for the orange colored 9, 10, 11, and 12 position numerals.

A molded, rubber band with buckle closure makes for a comfortable fit, and its water resistant rating to 200m (660ft) make it ideal for various water activities excluding deep sea or scuba diving. This is a very unassuming, straightforward military grade watch that simply gets the job done.

Marathon WW 194013DT-NGM Swiss Made Military Navigator Pilots Watch

Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)

Marathon WW 194013DT-NGM Swiss Made Military Navigator Pilots Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 6-ATM

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Superb luminosity
  • Easy to use & to read
  • Built to MIL-SPEC

Cons:

  • No screw-down crown

This watch has military grade written all over it – literally. The Marathon WW 194013DT-NGM is built to Government specifications for use by military personnel, with its NATO stock number engraved on the case-back.

Self-illuminating tritium gas tubes glow with no need for external charging sources and provide excellent light in all conditions. This watch is said to be designed for pilots and paratroopers, and boasts a very lightweight, high-impact fibreshell case, making it rugged and durable. Water resistant to 60m (203ft), it’s ideal for most water related activities not associated with diving.

Casio Men’s PRW-2500T-7CR Pro Trek Tough Solar Digital Watch

Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Casio Men’s PRW-2500T-7CR Pro Trek Tough Solar Digital Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 20-ATM

Pros:

  • Versatile, Rugged & durable
  • Solar powered
  • Digital Compass
  • Altimeter w/ memory
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer

Cons:

  • No shock resistant qualities

Water resistant to 200m (656ft), the PRW-2500T-7CR is a tough, durable, and versatile military style watch. Solar power and atomic timekeeping keep you well aware of the time, while a digital compass, altimeter (with memory), barometer, and thermometer, keep you aware of your surroundings.

An auto-calendar (preprogrammed until 2099), along with a countdown timer, 12/24 hour formats, and 1/100 second stopwatch, make up the standard watch functions of this watch by Casio. To top it all, it features a tide graph (tide level for specific date and time), as well as moon data (moon age for the specific date). In all, this watch screams “versatile!”

Also interesting: The Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers, Activity Trackers and Swim Trackers

High End Military Tactical Watches

Suunto Traverse Alpha Tactical Watch for Hunting and Fishing

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Suunto Traverse Alpha Tactical Watch for Hunting and Fishing

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 10-ATM

Pros:

  • Rugged & Stylish
  • Versatile
  • Made for Hunting & Fishing
  • GPS mapping
  • MIL-SPEC built

Cons:

  • Temp/baro sensor is on the back so is unreliable if touching skin

Simple in its appearance, the Traverse Alpha features a rugged, knurled stainless steel bezel, water repellent nylon strap, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass face. A built-in GPS tracks your path allowing you to find your way back using the automatic breadcrumb trail – something Hansel and Gretel could have done with.

Great for fishing and hunting, the Suunto Traverse Alpha features automatic shot detection technology which keeps track of when and where you shoot, mapping GPS coordinates for later viewing. Location based moon phase calendar, with moon rise and set times, contributes to its high recommendation for hunting and fishing.

Water resistant to 100m (328ft), this military grade watch has been tested against military standards (mil Std 810G). A very versatile, effortless yet stylish look, and definitely worth its price tag.

Garmin Tactix Bravo Tactical GPS Watch

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Garmin Tactix Bravo Tactical GPS Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 10-ATM

Pros:

  • GPS/GLONASS positioning
  • Rugged & durable
  • Great design
  • Altimeter/Barometer
  • Wi-Fi Support

Cons:

  • Altitude creeps up slowly as time passes

Garmin has successfully combined specialized tactical functionality with the increasingly popular smart features for fitness and outdoor activities – while maintaining a stylish look. It’s rugged and durable design is built for the harsh environments of the outdoors, and dual-mode operation (sunlight readable display or night vision goggle capability) make it very versatile.

A built-in altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS coordinate data page offers good situational awareness when it’s needed most, along with smart notifications allowing you to receive emails, texts, and alerts right at your wrist wherever you are. Wireless connectivity allows you to utilize one or more Wi-Fi hotspots.

Marathon WW 194006 GSAR Swiss Made Military Issue Diver’s Automatic Watch

Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Marathon WW 194006 GSAR Swiss Made Military Issue Diver’s Automatic Watch

Price: Check Price on Amazon

ATM-Rating: 30-ATM

Pros:

  • Easy to read
  • Good luminosity
  • MIL-SPEC built
  • Good for Search & Rescue missions

Cons:

  • Rubber band wears after time

Built to Government specification for use by military personnel, and similar to the Marathon WW 194013DT-NGM, this military grade watch features tritium gas tubes, providing exceptional luminosity.

Designed for search and rescue (SAR) missions at sea, the WW 194006 is water resistant rated to 300m (1,000ft), making it one of the top waterproof military watches we’ve reviewed in this article. Not only is it versatile and built-to-last, but it’s definitely neat and stylish, and can be worn with almost anything in your wardrobe to most any event on your calendar. Another great watch by Marathon.

Looking for a great Dive Watch? Check out the Best Dive Watches 2017 here…

Buyer’s Guide – What makes a great Military Watch?

Water Resistance

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, no watch can be advertised as waterproof due to FTC Regulations, but will instead carry a water resistant rating up to a certain depth. Cheaper watches with a 100m (330ft) are only good for showering, surface swimming, and light water-related activities, however, any watch you plan to take into the world of diving should carry at least a 200m (656ft) water resistant rating.

Simply put, and in the context of our articles, “ATM” is short for atmospheres. Each ATM or bar is equivalent to 10 meters (33 feet) of static water pressure. Water pressure increases with movement, so even if you are doing high-speed watersports in shallow water, the pressure is high and you need a watch with a higher ATM rating.

Here’s a table that outlines the various ATM ratings:

RatingWater Resistant up toUsage
1 ATM10 m (33 ft)Light rain & splashes
3 ATM30 m (98 ft)Accidental submersion & showering
5 ATM50 m (164 ft)Showering, surface swimming, shallow snorkeling, no high-speed watersports
10 ATM100 m (328 ft)Most water related activities (no scuba diving, no high-speed watersports)
20 ATM200 m (656 ft)All water related activities except deep water diving

Readability in all Environments

An easily overlooked feature in the world of watches is whether you’ll be able to tell time in dark environments or not. The advantage of choosing a watch with luminous hands and markers, over one with a backlight, is that it’s almost ‘automatic’. Once the hands and markers have absorbed the much-needed light from a light source, you’ll have great ‘glow in the dark’ reference when you need it most.

Some of the watches we reviewed feature tritium gas tubes which give them exceptional luminosity and doesn’t fade away easily like glow-in-the dark features do.

Tactical features

The majority of waterproof military style watches come equipped with altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and digital compass features. It goes without saying how imperative these features are, especially when navigating the great outdoors.

Some watches come equipped with GPS/GLONASS capabilities, which is even better suited for maintaining situational awareness. Couple this with the ability to connect wirelessly and you’ve got yourself more than just a watch – you’ve got yourself a survival tool.

Care Instructions for Your Precious Timepiece

Rinse your watch, just as you would any other piece of equipment, after any extended period in water, especially salt water. We both know the perilous effects of saltwater and subsequent corrosion. Regular cleaning of the strap will prevent dust and dirt accumulation – especially on rubber straps.

Store your watch in its original case or aftermarket case if you don’t plan to wear it for a while. This will help prevent the accumulation of dust and the possibility of scratches and nicks should it take and unlikely fall from your bedside table. Additionally, avoid storing in extreme temperatures such as the heat of your car or heat sources, or even places where it can easily be stolen.

Enjoy your watch. You’ve spent your hard-earned money on it and once you take proper care of it, it will take proper care of you – from the open water to the dinner table.

Conclusion

A good, high-quality military style watch can come in quite handy in the field; whether you’re in law enforcement, the military, or service agent of some sort. However, you don’t have to be a “top secret agent” to sport one of these valuable assets.

Luckily, in this day and age in which we live, gone are the days of clunky wrist watches, you can now accent your wardrobe with a stylish timepiece that’s fully loaded with all the bells and whistles expected in a military grade wrist watch.

As always, just follow our Buyer’s Guide, closely read the well-researched reviews we’ve offered, and take heed to the care instructions we’ve provided, and you’ll have yourself one, or even two, of the best military watches the market has to offer.

Further Reading: What is the ultimate military watch?

Product images: Courtesy of the respective manufacturers